Is Samsung's Buyback Program Comparable to Gazelle?

By , dealnews Senior Feature Writer

Samsung wants to make upgrading to your next smartphone a little easier on your wallet. Samsung Upgrade, the company's just-launched buyback program, lets folks trade in their current smartphone for up to $300 in cash when they purchase a new Samsung Galaxy device.

Like many other trade-in programs, consumers receive a quote for their current device online and then are mailed a check from Samsung within 30 days of shipping the device. However, like its namesake, Samsung Upgrade requires that you purchase a Samsung Galaxy device, meaning you can't just pocket the money you just earned like you would with other trade-in services. (You'll need to provide Samsung with proof that you purchased a Galaxy device before receiving your check.) But with so many trade-in and recycling programs to choose from, we wanted to know what makes Samsung's stand out.

Shop Around for the Best Offers

To get started with Samsung Upgrade, head to the company's Facebook page. Then plug in your phone's make, model, and service provider and you'll have a quote within seconds. We tested this service and got a quote for our Apple iPhone 4S 16GB smartphone for Verizon Wireless: $210. By comparison, Gazelle, another popular buyback program, which we've recommended multiple times, offered us $260. Even better, Gazelle offered $280 for a mint condition iPhone. Unfortunately Samsung Upgrade doesn't distinguish between good condition and mint condition and offers a max cash back of $210. This lack of distinction between new and good is a big drawback for gadget owners who keep their smartphones in pristine condition in hopes of selling at a higher price.

We then tried selling our iPhone 4S at BuyMyTronics, yet another trade-in service, and were quoted $252 for an "excellent" condition iPhone. A "new" condition (i.e. flawless) iPhone at BuyMyTronics goes for $279 — again comfortably beating Samsung's quote of $210. For our third comparison, we tried NextWorth, who offered us $263 for our iPhone 4S. All in all, Samsung's upgrade program offered the lowest return credit for our iPhone.

While not a trade-in service, we also decided to check eBay to gauge what resellers were getting for used iPhones. We saw bids on our same iPhone model reach as much as $360. What's more, we encountered similar results when researching the HTC Evo 4G for Sprint. Samsung Upgrade offered $40 for the Evo; BuyMyTronics offered $48; NextWorth $39; and Gazelle $34. With the HTC Evo 4G, Samsung's buyback price was better, but it was still not the top offer we could find.

The Bottom Line

Even if you've already decided to purchase a Galaxy smartphone, before you trade in any device with Samsung we highly recommend checking at least one other trade-in program (like Gazelle or BuyMyTronics) to get the biggest return. Like Samsung Upgrade, all of these service facilitate the selling process so that you don't pay for shipping or worry about potentially bad buyers. And that extra time you spend looking up quotes could wind up putting more cash in your hand.
An avid gadget lover, Louis Ramirez has covered technology for Gizmodo, CNET, Laptop, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @LouisRamirez

Follow @dealnews for the latest roundups, price trend info, and stories. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.

DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


Leave a comment!

or Register
I have a great condition Samsung Galaxy S II, and they offer a pitiful $85.  I could sell it on ebay for triple as much.  Super lame.
I cannot believe that the article didn't even mention Amazon Electronics Trade-In. It quotes the iPhone 4S 16 GB (White) at $415 and  Phone 4S 16 GB (Black) at $395. Granted you only get an Amazon gift card, but since you can pretty much buy almost anything on Amazon, I think it's definitely worth the extra Amazon credit they are giving you.
Louis Ramirez (DealNews)
I'm not sure which Captivate you have (8GB, 16GB, etc.), but the 8GB model is going for abt $71 on eBay. Otherwise if you don't want to deal w/ bids, Paypal, etc. -- looks like Samsung is definitely your best choice in this scenario.
Just tried selling/upgrading my AT&T Captivate in perfect condition and Samsung offered $40, Nextag $37, buymytronics $30, Gazelle $0.